Fake It Till You Make It

It’s a curiously well-known fact that the act of making yourself smile will cause your body to release endorphins and serotonin, even if you aren’t feeling happy at that moment. Because of this, it’s been speculated that if you smile when you feel stressed you can minimize the toll that stress takes on your body. The official jury is still out on how strong this reaction is and if it’s effected by whether you’re forcing a smile or genuinely smiling (called a Duchenne smile, which involves muscles from around the eyes), but nonetheless studies show that it seems to have an impact.

Shrinks will tell you think of thing, too. If you’re depressed and nothing makes you happy anymore, make yourself do things that used to make you happy until they make you happy again. Pretend you’re still happy. Make yourself do things happy you did. Eventually you’ll feel better again, they say.

It sounds so easy, like when I mine information and develop new interests in things when I meet new people… but it’s not that easy. I sit down to draw and can’t think of anything to draw, or worse, I think of something to draw and ruin it. I try to play a video game, and I can’t even get the game basics right. I go out to a show and end up sipping vodka in the back of the room alone instead of talking to anyone, and end up leaving feeling worse than when I dragged myself out.

Recently, D2 had a friend who was really tail spinning. Long story short, a girl fell for her best friend. He didn’t feel the same. So she was devastated, and he was angry. Her behavior spiraled out to the point she cut herself and contemplated suicide. So D2 went to her house and held her, called her parents, and I guess she’s doing better now. He also planted in her head that she might be bipolar, like he is.

Here’s why that all bothers me.

A, not everyone is a fucking bipolar. D2 is diagnosed. I am diagnosed. It does not mean that everyone who tries to kill themselves is bipolar. It means a lot of people can’t deal with life. For a number of reasons.

2, I, personally, wouldn’t have time for this bullshit… Spiraling out in to overwhelming depression because someone doesn’t love you back romantically is a dumbass reason to be suicidal. It’s mellow dramatic. It’s attention-seeking. It’s stupid. Being angry at someone for having feelings for you is a dumbass reaction. It just invalidates that person and leaves them open to some dumbass emotional response that will distance both you, and turn into some superfluous bullshit.

D, D2 tells me all of this, about people I barely know, who have pretty much replaced me and my function in his life… and meanwhile I’m at home looking at hoarded bottles of Xanax, Temazapam, and antipsychotics wondering if I have to put me to asleep forever.

D2 thinks he knows what suicide looks like. He’s been there, tried that, and recovered. He knows what a spiral looks like. It’s big, it’s in your face, it’s trying to get people to hurt you, and getting blackout drunk, and causing a scene at work. It’s crying in public, and looking distraught, and not being able to keep it together. It’s cutting yourself, and screaming at your friends, and suddenly cancelling all your plans with people, and putting yourself in dangerous situations. Anyone can spot a spiral. Those are the people that end up getting help. Those are the people whose parents worry about them, and whose friends ask if they’re okay, and who end up in a shrink’s office on a script of Prozac. What D2 doesn’t know is what giving up looks like.

Giving up is a process. It’s quiet and gradual. It’s always cancelling plans last minute because you feel “sick,” but promising that you guys will do something together soon. It’s giving up your hobbies because you’re too tired after work, but promising yourself that you’ll get back to them. It’s not taking a shower for a week, because you wake up late every single day and don’t have time. It’s staring at a bottle of vodka in your freezer, and being too depressed to even drink your sorrows away. It’s coming home to people and pets that are super excited to see you, but being too tired to deal with their energy, so you yell at them or close yourself off in your room. It’s buying things you don’t need just because you think it might fill the hole in your life where your friends used to be. It’s eating too much. It’s not eating enough. It’s sitting in your car for an hour after you get home because you know that when you walk through the door your spouse/kids/pets will want attention, and you really should mop and vacuum and clean the bathroom and put your laundry away… and all you’re going to be able to do is sit down and waste the evening until it’s late enough to go to bed… and it all starts over in the morning. It’s the fakers, who still get up, and go to work, and smile when you see them who give up.

So I’m waiting for my dresses: bright colors and happiness. I’m working on perfecting that Duchenne smile: how to smile with your eyes. I stopped buying books so I can read what I have. I’m monitoring what I eat and when, trying to stick to lean meats, veg, and some chocolate. I’m trying not to look into mirrors too long, so I can’t see the cracks in the facade. I’m distracting myself with educational youtube channels and staring at blank paper until I decide I can try again the next day when it’s finally time to go to bed.

I’m faking it… and I don’t know that I feel better at all, but it’s pretty evident that no one is the wiser to what’s going on beneath the surface. No one’s come knocking on my door to check on me. No one blinks an eye when I cancel plans at the last second, no matter how many times in a row it happens. No one thinks twice about my overuse of the 😛 emoji, or how they haven’t seen me in real life in a while.

Sometimes, when I feel real low, I wonder what people would think if I were to kill myself. I mean, all the signs are there. It’s not like I’ve put real effort into hiding it. Just put on that fake smile and talk when you’re supposed to, and everything else can be ignored. Everyone always says they never see it coming when people kill themselves… but it’s because no one is looking, and even if they are, it’s easier to convince themselves that it’s not their business.

It’ lucky, or unlucky depending on how you look at it, that I have so many pets… I’m sad, yes. I think about killing myself a lot, yes. I am overwhelmingly responsible, though. I would never leave my pets, or my mom like that. Especially since my mother would just kill HERself, and we’d both be dead, and ten animals would end up in a shelter without us. It’s just a series of events that wouldn’t help anyone.

Still, sometimes I wish someone would ask if I’m okay and demand to just be there. What a hypocritical statement… it’s not like I bother checking on anyone… but they say suicide is selfish, so maybe that comes with the territory.

Update: I reached out to check on Bird. She’s been sad, and I wish someone would check on me, so I checked on her. And told her a cool Zelda hack about chickens. So… at least I did that.

Dresses

Oh look. Pictures of me being depressed.

I have developed this habit of buying clothes ONLY for work, so I have nothing to wear when I go out anymore. That doesn’t sound like it would be a really real problem, but it is. You never consider how much what you wear reveals about yourself. My wardrobe being catered exclusively around work and nothing being something that I’d wear to a social event really shows how much I’ve forsaken social life. (Imma totally derail now… enjoy or skip down to ANYWAYS…)

I try to be social, but it ends up so disappointing.

For example, this past Friday I tried to hook up with Bird. She’d had a terrifying experience on the highway and wanted to go out and celebrate being alive… She turned down all my suggestions for actual fun things to do, and we ended up just getting a drink at a bar we don’t go to much “for something different.” I suggested everything from a local goth night, to crashing a senior citizen prom, to just trying a new venue with some different kind of music… but as much as she says she’d like to do more than the rest of our friends, who LIVE at karaoke and do literally nothing else, she doesn’t really want to try anything new either. On top of that, I tried to plan for her being late, because she’s always fucking late, and I was still there for about an hour alone before she showed up. So… all together I call the night a bust. We didn’t even really have anything to talk about since neither of us seem to do much at this point. I think we are both horrifically depressed… and depressed people do not lift each other up, but rather we drag each other down.

I was supposed to go to a birthday party Saturday night, but hurt my back doing yard work and backed out. I made sure to make it to a move with Bird on Sunday morning. She wanted to see Annabelle: Creation, and I was down. SO… I get her to confirm movie time and location, but just as I’m leaving my house she’s like…

“Are we still doing this?”
“Unless you suddenly changed your mind.”
“No, I’m just double-checking.”

::15 mins goes by and I’m outside the theater::

“But what about your back?”
“It hurts but all we’re going to do is sit.”
“Okay.”

And then she showed up like 20 mins later, right when the movie was starting.

I try really hard not to take shit personally, but if you wanna bail, just fucking bail. I hate people who vacillate way more than people who bail. At least I know when someone bails that I suddenly have free time. It’s still a little inconvenient, but at least it’s definitive so I can plan something else. Toss always being late into that mix and I’m just a weird mixture of hurt and angry that you’re wasting my time.

I was trying to wait for her in the parking lot, but I ended up just telling her where I was sitting and going into the theater because I stopped caring if she even showed up. I was there. I was irritable. I was seeing the movie with or without her… just cuz I was there.

I love Bird to death. She’s a great person, and I know she’s got her own shit she’s dealing with, but I just hate trying to do stuff with her. I just end up feeling bad because she vacillates on plans and then shows up late. So me, miss prompt-and-requiring-validation, feels like I’m not worth hammering down plans with, and that she’s not valuing my time… and she’s not valuing my time… and I find that mean… and the fact she’s one of two friends I legit see regularly really just compounds how meaningless I perceive that I must be to her, whether it’s true or not.

ANYWAYS I BOUGHT SOME DRESSES. I was going to go to Torrid on my way home from work one night this week, but got a better deal online and picked up six dresses there… and then I got three from Maurice’s that are plainer and cheaper, but still nice looking. I tried really hard to pick things I could, and WOULD, wear somewhere that isn’t work. I tried to throw some actual personality into it. It’s hard… because I don’t even know what I’d like to wear anymore…

I just use clothes to cover this terrible body I have, and that’s not fashion. I’m not expressing myself; I’m just hiding something I refuse to embrace. It contributes to my bad feels… I would really like to like myself again. I did for a while there, and it was great. I dunno what’s changed now… but I don’t like not liking myself.

So… gonna work on that, I guess.

BLARGH

Today I start a lactose and gluten free life. I’m not excited.

A, I’ve known I was lactose intolerant since I was a kid, but I chose to torture myself because cheese and ice cream are delicious.

2, No I haven’t 100% confirmed I’m gluten intolerant with a doctor… BUT a few years ago I was trying to actively pursue WHY I am violently ill every single time I eat. They did a blood test for Celiac, and it was inconclusive. She was pretty sure that was the issue, though, and wanted me to get an intestinal biopsy to confirm. That sounded terrifying and painful, so I never did it. Now I’m on Kaiser, so going to the doctor is pretty much pointless, so I’m just grasping at the straws of incomplete data.

D, If this doesn’t work, I can always go back to eating gluten.

I’m not excited. As it is, I already miss cheeseburgers… and I don’t even eat cheeseburgers that often. I’m just not into the idea of not eating things I like for the rest of my life. It feels unfair. It feels incredibly unfair, and it makes me depressed and angry. Still, I’m at a point where I’m just tired of being sick every single fucking time I eat.

In 28 years and 10 months, I feel like I’ve spent more time in the bathroom than anywhere else. It ruins eating out with friends. It wakes me up from sleep. It’s something I have to plan for before any meal so I can be sure there’s a bathroom I can get to. Cutting out gluten and lactose really just means that I won’t ever eat out again… but maybe when I eat something I won’t have to worry about where the nearest bathroom is.

I don’t know that this will work. I’ve been known to get sick from eating just vegetables, and vegetables don’t have gluten or lactose… essentially my gastrointestinal tract just fucking hates me. I have to try something, though. I’m tired of the pain and the embarrassment and feeling shitty every time I eat.

If this doesn’t work… I’ll go back to gluten and cut out corn… I’ll cut out everything if it means an end to the bullshit… I’m unhappy about it, but I’m also unhappy being sick all the time. So… fuck it.

Jared

When I was a kid, I watched The Neverending Story. A lot of things about that movie fucked me up… like no one missing Bastian, and Artax drowning in sadness, Falcor having to rip Atreyu away from the same sadness that took Artax, but especially the Nothing.

I found the idea of NOTHING spreading over Fantastica/Fantasia to be nothing short of impossible to imagine. I mean when people think of emptiness, they think of black, but darkness is something. The only way I’ve really been able to grasp the idea of nothingness is through death. Death is admittedly something, but when you die everything you are becomes nothing…

Today I learned that a friend from high school overdosed and died. I don’t know if it was intentional or accidental, but the result is the same: he’s dead. We weren’t close, and I wouldn’t be so rude as to pretend that we were. I can’t tell you what he’s been up to or if he was involved with anyone. All I know is that when I knew him, he was a nice kid, and the people who knew him more recently seem to have really cared about him.

It’s weird when someone you’re aware of but not at all close to dies. When you’re close to the deceased you have feelings. You feel loss and hurt and longing. When it’s just someone you’re aware existed, it’s sad, but it doesn’t really hurt. There’s no hole in your chest where that person used to be, no regret that you never got to tell them something.

I, personally, just don’t know how you’re supposed to feel when someone you weren’t close to dies.I’m not empty of emotion. I’m sad about it, kind of. His absence now reminds me of the times we DID interact.

My favorite was in high school. I actually went to his house, with a group of friends. His parents were, and probably still are, loaded. We all jumped in his pool, and his mom didn’t even ask questions when he took a giant ball of wet black clothing up to the drier. We sat around in our underwear, wrapped in blankets, and watch The Exorcist, scaring ourselves and each other the best we could. I can’t remember why we there, since it wasn’t a place we usually hung out. Nothing nefarious or even PG-13 happened. We were just dumb kids and we had a nice time. I can’t even tell you why we were there instead of at one of our usual hangouts…

It’s weird that he doesn’t exist anymore, but there’s no emptiness associated with it. It’s like when celebrities die… you’re sad, but you know that in a couple of days you won’t really even think about it. In this case I feel bad I won’t think about it, though. He should be thought about. He was a person, and people deserve recognition.

So, I don’t know. I guess I just want to remember him.

So here’s to you Jared. You were a nice kid I once knew, and you seem to have touched a lot of people. I’m sorry you’re gone. I just hope that whatever happened, you were happy in life.

Lonely

I closed my dating profile again… It’s just too depressing to deal with. The people that talk to me are poor conversationalists at best, and no one is attractive. I would literally kill another human being if it meant I could find someone attractive. It’s been so long since I found anyone except like Rihanna attractive. That is problematic because she’s not a real person… Celebrity crushes mean nothing.

I don’t usually put a lot stock into whether I find someone attractive, because it’s at the bottom of my requirements list. I can list unattractive people for all kinds of reasons, but after my most recent sexual encounter (which you can read about here if you’re interested) I’d really like to have some physical interest in the next person I have sex with… and preferably sooner than over a year from now.

I’ve considered that my plan to move to Oregon means that I probably shouldn’t be looking for anyone, anyways… cuz who wants a fling with a set time limit? That’s not even fun and spontaneous. I am just so incredibly lonely all the time. I spend weekends alone or with my mom at this point… I don’t really talk to anyone… It’s sad. It’s really fucking sad.

I can hear people saying, “go do things you like and meet people!” Here’s the thing. Even when I go do things alone, which I’ve been known to do, I don’t meet anyone. I dunno if I look menacing, or like a scared animal, or if people just legit don’t talk to people they don’t know… but I never leave an event with new friends. I leave trying to smile because I did a thing, but still feeling kinda lonely. I’ve tried initiating conversations at events, and it always feels like people just run away from me.

I’ve tried MeetUp, because that’s supposed to be a social thing where you’re expected to meet new people… and I tend to fade into the background of people because I become inexplicably shy, OR in one instance I was asked not to return (introverts are mean too, apparently, and I was too social for them) OR in one instance I showed up to an event and it was all people over 50 who berated me for being there, because people under 50 apparently shouldn’t need help meeting people.

I’ve tried to arrange plans with a friend, and it just goes by the wayside. I’ve tried to find events to go to, even if I don’t meet anyone, but it’s so hard to go to things when you know you’re gonna wander around alone and not have anyone to talk to.

I could use a friend. I thought a significant other would be easier, cuz people are ALWAYS looking for one of those, but people are so incredibly boring. Myself included.

Me: Book worm, comic nerd, horror junkie that likes live music and tacos, and who games once in a while.

Everyone else: Likes hiking, biking, and camping OR Plays video games and doesn’t leave the house OR Doesn’t have a job

There’s someone for everyone if you lower your standards low enough… but I’m at the minimum here… Job, address, car, and interesting. If I get lower standards than that I could just as easily pickup a homeless guy and just bring him home (which I’ve done on accident, but never on purpose).

It’s just not fair. I don’t want happily ever after; I just want someone to go to the movies with.

Ah well.

I’m starting a new eating directive this week and I’m hoping to go home and work on purging or the backyard or something half-ass productive. Maybe clean some stuff… I’m trying to spend less time at home doing nothing… cuz the nothing gets to me.

We’ll see how it goes, I guess.

I’m Not Okay

::queue song::

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRFhNZNu_xw

Okay so the song doesn’t really relate… but I’m NOT okay.

I AM NOT OKAY AND I AM TIRED OF NEVER FEELING OKAY AND I WOULD GIVE USE OF MY LEGS TO FEEL OKAY FOR JUST A FUCKING MINUTE.

I’m tired and irritable and I want to scream and throw shit and hurt people. There’s a PC that’s been sitting on my desk at work, and if I had less control of myself I’d take it and go beat a coworker to death with it. I don’t even care which coworker… but I’d beat their skull in with a PC.

I just want to hurt people. I want people to hurt because I hurt and there’s no wound to blame it on. It’s just fucked up emotional turmoil that no one understands or cares about, and it’s got me all fucked up.

Why?

Because this is my life. This is going to be life until such a time as my life ends. This isn’t “the summer I was kinda sad” or some little pothole in the generally good life that is mine. This is my severe mental illness that never goes away, and never gets noticeably better, and will never have a fucking cure. I’m just damned to go through the rest of life feeling hopeless and shitty and impulsively getting drunk so I don’t feel hopeless and shitty for a couple of hours.

Friday I got my bangles back from fuccboi. I call him that, because that’s what I see him as now. He was nice enough, to be honest. We had a couple drinks and I invited him to the gig I was going to, because after three Saisons I was bored and I didn’t care if he tagged along, so long as I didn’t have to bring him back to that side of town. He agreed to cab/Uber/Lyft home. I invited Bird. I got drunk. It was great. 130 came and I went home, and reminded fuccboi I wasn’t taking him home. Somehow he managed to get a ride from Bird… and good for her, being a better person than me, but I was manic and drunk and I don’t give a fuck.

Saturday and Sunday all I did was sit high out of my mind and binge watch Adam Ruins Everything. It’s weird, because I actually felt pretty good when I got up on Saturday, but I still couldn’t DO anything. I sat there for two days, binge eating, and only left the house to go to a movie with mom, where I also ate. I felt like a worthless piece of shit on Sunday evening… and I was correct about that.

All the shit I want to do, all the goals I have for the next year, and all I could fucking do was nothing this weekend.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you deserve to do nothing. Nothing can be great… this was not great. I could have cleaned up the backyard, done something in the basement, folded the rest of my clothes, mopped, vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, LITERALLY ANYTHING, but no…

I got up this morning and decided this has GOT to end. It sounds motivational, but mostly I’m just pissed off at myself. I’m officially so fat I am sometimes out of breath just trying to wipe my ass. That’s not an exaggeration, that’s the reality of my body trying to maneuver all this fat around so I can reach and most of it cramming into my chest cavity against my diaphragm. That’s too fat. It’s official. It’s too fat. And this weekend? Too much wasted time. Fucking wasted all that time that I could have done something with. And it’s gotta stop, because if it doesn’t stop I have no reason to live.

I talk about suicide a lot. Do you know why? Because I think about suicide a lot. My life is already so fucking meaningless that the only reasons I’m still around is so my mom doesn’t kill HERself, and because I have dogs that I don’t want going back to shelter care. I’m not here because life has meaning, or because life is secretly beautiful, or anything so wonderful as that. I’m here because dying is inconvenient at the moment, but if I’m just going to give up why let my mom watch as I slowly kill myself with food and depression, I could save us both a tortured journey to my grave.

I weighed 288.8 this morning. That’s officially the fattest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I literally didn’t move this weekend. That’s officially the laziest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I’m turning into my grandmother. I just need to get on disability and be addicted to daytime court shows. I can die in my chair, suffocating on my own neck fat. That’s not how she died, but it’s the image I have of her burned into my brain from childhood… just drinking coffee and falling asleep with a lit cigarette in her hand. I loved my grandmother, but I never want to be that. If I’m going to be that, I’d rather be dead.

So if my life is going to be me, not being emotionally okay ever again, I might as well torture myself down to normal people sizes. I’d settle for a Torrid zero, which is a large… a size 12… It’s not the 130 lbs I’ve always wanted to be… but it’s a lot fucking better than here. It’s 3 dress sizes… it’s a lot… but honestly… it’s not like I’m doing anything better with my time, am I?

A Double Post Kinda Day – Still Blue

What am I doing?!

I don’t know, but I keep texting him anyways. It’s not like I’m in love, or even lust, but I keep texting him. I guess I’m lonely. It’s not as though I have anyone to generally talk to about being sad. A stranger can chat without prying. I can talk to a stranger without thinking about anything important. It’s a nice escape from everything, I guess.

I suppose some people talk to their friends, but even with the small group of friends I keep I can’t imagine bothering them with my emotional turmoil. I mean, what do they care?

Most don’t: that’s the short answer. Having been removed from my immediate life for long enough, I have tried reaching out to my friend in California, but unsurprisingly he’s not really interested in it. I’m not sure why it’s surprising, as I’ve always felt him a touch self-absorbed anyway, but it hurts nonetheless. I tried telling a friend in Maine, because she’s another person I needn’t look in the eye when I spout my emotionally fucked bullshit, but while she’s concerned she isn’t really sure how to handle it. She just tries to reassure me, which is about as effective as it sounds reassuring a crazy person would be. Ha.

I have not tried to talk to my local friends, or my best friend in Oregon, about my meds or how I’m feeling. At my lowest I made it known to Bird that I was struggling, but I can’t imagine actually trying to explain a bipolar thought pattern to her. I considered trying to tell my bipolar friend, but he’s also very self-absorbed. He doesn’t even really do a good job at pretending to care about others; he’s just hellbent on trying to feel like a person again. I can’t really blame him for that… it’s hard the first time you lose yourself.

I could never REALLY talk to the Mothership about my bipolar. She understands depression, but only to the point she’s managed to build her own little barricade of coping mechanisms. So if I’m too depressed to get out of bed, that’s beyond her realm of understanding… so I, too, get out of bed and trudge on into the day, knowing that as soon as I walk through my front door I’m allowed to hit the floor and not move again until the next morning if I have to… and I have. No, my darling mother has major depression, not bipolar, so she doesn’t get mania. She doesn’t have highs that come in waves of feeling powerful, vengeful, or even happy. She doesn’t know what it feels like to think yourself invincible. She just knows the blue… the malaise… the ongoing sea of endless nothing. At least she sort of gets half of it, I guess. When I want to cry but have no reasons, she gets that… and she worries about all those depression-y things that crop up from time to time.

Knowing kinda half the story isn’t enough to understand, though. I can’t explain to her why mania is a problem or the complicated dance the two weave across the dance floor of my personality. I can’t explain why I do some things, or what it’s REALLY like to hear a voice you’re aware is all in your head. I can’t explain to her everything I’ve done under the influence of one episode or another. I can’t explain why there’s so shame behind my eyes and why certain innocuous things seem to hurt me. No, it’s not enough to know the half-truth of a disease and what ways it can eat at a heart.

So I keep texting him, even though I’ve already told him we shouldn’t see each other romantically. I hold my breath each time the phone buzzes, hoping it’s the nice young man that barely knows me. We don’t talk about my bipolar, or depression, or mania, or the voices, or how sometimes I think I’d rather die than have to get out of bed. I don’t feel the urge to tell him I’m struggling, or that going home at the end of a long work day is awful because there are little living things there relying on me to care for them. I don’t feel like I have to confess. It’s just small talk… How was your day? Did you see that film? What time are you free for a drink on Saturday? It’s nothing important. It’s nothing that hurts.

I don’t love him or lust for him… I don’t ache for him, and I definitely don’t want to be in his bed or his arms… but it’s just nice to fill the time with bullshit, I guess. When real life is so hard, the meaningless becomes quite pleasant.